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A new version of Dune is set to come out this year. While this may be the first time many movie fans are exposed to this universe, it’s not the first time Dune has been adapted for the big screen. The franchise has been a movie before and even a miniseries. To the uninitiated, it may appear as though Dune is borrowing from another popular sci-fi series: Star Wars. That’s not quite true, however, though the two have lots of similarities. 

But what exactly do the two stories share? Here’s how Star Wars and Dune stack up, and one explanation why they have so much in common. 

Filmmaker George Lucas
Filmmaker George Lucas | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The story of ‘Star Wars’

Star Wars has become one of, if not the single most, popular and influential film series of all time. It redefined what a Hollywood blockbuster could be. Beginning with 1977’s A New Hope, Star Wars told the story of a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker emboldened with the mystical power of the Force. Luke aims to battle the evil Empire led by Darth Vader.

Eventually, Luke discovers Vader is his father and gets him to return from the dark side of the Force. The original trilogy of films spawned a prequel trilogy outlining Anakin’s rise and fall, plus a prequel trilogy set 30 years after the originals. 

The story of ‘Dune’

Based on a 60s novel by Frank Herbert and adapted into a 1984 film directed by David Lynch, Dune also tells a tale of intergalactic intrigue. The entire galaxy chases a commodity known as melange. Melange is made on a desert planet called Arrakis. The leader of his planet, Duke Atreides, has a son named Paul who is his successor.

The film captures the wars between the various clans and planets as they attempt to gain access to this precious resource. 

This year, a star-studded remake directed by Denis Villeneuve will be released. 

The similarities between ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Dune’


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A recent Reddit thread comically compared two characters from Dune and Star Wars who happen to be played by the same actor – Oscar Isaac. In Dune, Isaac portrays Duke Leto Atreides.

In Star Wars, he portrayed Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. The original poster’s comment reads as follows: 

“Poe had a rough life after Episode 9. The government always leaves behind veterans, I swear smh.”

Beyond having one of their performers in common, however, Dune and Star Wars share more than that. Dune’s entire aesthetic is based around the Atreides homeworld, the desert planet of Arrakis. Star Wars takes place across numerous worlds in each film, but it’s the most important one is arguably Tatooine.

This is the home planet of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, as well as the source of scenes in multiple Star Wars films. It’s featured in A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker, and even in one episode of The Mandalorian.    

There are more aspects in common than that, however. According to Nerdist, the original novel played a huge role in shaping Star Wars and many elements of the story. Some examples include: 

  • Spice is a commodity in both universes. 
  • Each franchise features a giant sand creature (sandworms in Dune, the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi). 
  • Each film features a princess character. 

While the Dune novel is what ultimately came first, many fans may see the new film and think that this latest remake is stealing components of Star Wars lore. They’re incorrect, however. Dune came first and served as quite an important source of inspiration for George Lucas.